First Master Sommelier to Receive Decanter’s Prestigious Man/Woman of the Year Award (Napa Valley, Calif.) March 21, 2013—The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas is pleased to congratulate Master Sommelier Gerard Basset for being named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year 2013. The Court of Master Sommeliers is honored that this prominent wine publication has recognized an individual from the Court for his leadership in the wine and beverage industries. Decanter.com comments that Gerard is “widely credited with transforming the perception of sommeliers around the world”. Gerard Basset, who became a Master Sommelier in 1989, is the owner of TerraVina hotel in Southern England and is also the co-founder of the Hotel du Vin business. Since 1984, Decanter has selected one individual to be the Man or Woman of the Year. Basset joins an illustrious group of individuals who have also received this title, including Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Jancis Robinson and Ernst Loosen. “The American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers warmly congratulates Gerard Basset for this tremendous accomplishment, which raises awareness for sommeliers worldwide,” Greg Harrington, Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. ABOUT THE COURT OF MASTER SOMMELIERS The Court of Master Sommeliers was established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. Education was then, and remains today, the Court's charter. The first successful Master Sommelier examination was held in the United Kingdom in 1969. By April 1977, the Court of Master Sommeliers was established as the premier international examining body. Over the four decades since the Court's first examination was held, 197 individuals have earned the Master Sommelier Diploma. In the service of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages, the Master Sommelier Diploma is the ultimate professional credential anyone can attain worldwide.